The Benefits of a European Health Insurance Card
If you are a resident of an EEA country, you might be eligible to apply for a European Health Insurance Card. This card entitles you to free medical care anywhere in the EEA. Similarly, it entitles Swiss citizens to free health care in EEA countries. However, you should check whether the country you live in has a similar health care system. Therefore, you may have to check with your employer whether it offers such an option.
EHICs are free to obtain, so you can apply online for one. They are only valid for two years. You can also apply for a new one or renew an existing one. In most cases, applying for an EHIC is free. Some private companies, however, may charge a fee for their services. Nevertheless, the process is simple and free of charge. You may want to take your time and contact the appropriate healthcare authorities in your country.
The EHIC can help you get medical care in other EU countries. It is valid in a number of countries, and you must show it to receive medical treatment. Although you have to pay for healthcare services in a foreign country, you can reclaim the cost afterward. You should make sure that you have a separate card for each member of your family. However, keep in mind that an EHIC cannot replace travel insurance, as it does not cover private healthcare, emergency air evacuation, and other extra costs. In some countries, you may have to pay the costs upfront before claiming benefits, and this is not always the case.
Your EHIC is valid for up to five years. You should get a renewal for your EHIC as early as six months before its expiration date, so that the leftover time from your existing card is not wasted. In addition, you can apply for a new card if you want to bring a family member with you. As long as they are eligible for an EHIC, you can use your card to get medical treatment in the country where you are traveling.
The European Health Insurance Card is also useful for new-borns. Premature babies, for example, can get medical treatment for a local fee. Other treatments require payment of a co-payment. As for the costs of prescription medicines, the card will save you money. Additionally, ambulance transport in Europe is free, but some countries charge a small fee for this service or a percentage of the kilometer traveled. You will need your EHIC in order to receive health care, so be prepared.
An EHIC is valid in all 27 member states of the European Union (EU). It also covers Norway, Liechtenstein, and Switzerland. Until the end of the Brexit transition period on 31 December 2020, the United Kingdom was a member of the European Union. Until then, the UK continued to participate provisionally. It is important to note that you can use your EHIC abroad, but you should not give your card to anyone else.